Category Archives: ****Review

Are Glue Guns Legal?


Photo by Tom Hofmeist

           The 11th Annual Paper Fashion Show was a fabulous debut for Denver’s one and only, one-of-a-kind, spring fashion review. Don’t go looking for linen, poplin, silk or satin. This show is where one finds the hip, authentically underground fashionistas, designers and artists who believe in paper. Each year their talents make Denver a force to be noted.  There’s more than one fashion show in Denver but nothing says chic, Art, original design or high fashion like the Paper Fashion Show.

This year, it was held at the Bindery on Blake Street in lower downtown. It coincided with the first Rockies game and it could have been a nightmare. As fashion folk were coming in, baseball fans were leaving downtown in droves. What we suffer for fashion!

Inside, the bare brick walls and polished concrete floors looked hip & modern.  The large dock doors were opened to the site of the nearby RiNo railroad tracks. Once inside I followed a trail of six-inch stilettos to my seat.

From high couturier elegant dresses to dragon wings and angel IMG_4329wings, e v e r y t h i n g was made of paper. There’s always one or two creations that are so unbelievable you want to take them home and wear. Then there’s always a few that are so off the wall, you just want them to hang on your living room wall.

I’m mad about this event, and every year I leave impressed and bewildered at the improbable yet impeccable clothe’s designs trotting down the runway. It’s hard to believe every shred of the outfits are made of paper. It is mindful. It’s something to see. It is truly one of the most creative events anywhere.


Probably not one tree in this creation.IMG_4393


4th Place, Coeur De Cristal, Team Chapparral Fashion Club, Swatch – YUPO Synthetic









Award: That’s Made of Paper? Team, Flying Pigs, Swatch FiberMark Suedetex


DAVA’s Choice – Victorian SteamPunk, After the Apocalypse, Team, Triple J Design, Swatch, French Paper Speckletone


1st Place – Valkyrie – Team – SLYNN, made of Neenah Classic Linen


3rd Place – Falcon Fancy – Team, Da Ream Team, Made of Mohawk VIA


2nd Place – Arachnophobia, Team – Carlos Valles, made of Neenah Classic Lai2_Arachnophobia_CarlosVallesd

Pippin & Chip meet again 40 years later


Randy Weeks, DCPA, & Lucy Arnez, Pippin’s grandmother, at after party, September 10, 2014.


Photo of a surprised John Rubenstein taken at the moment Chip Lumbard introduced himself. In 1972, Chip was a stagehand for the premier of ‘Pippin’ at Lincoln Center in Washington, D.C.  Chip recalls watching rehearsals with Rubenstein (as the first Pippin), Irene Dunn & Ben Vereen, from under the stairs he pushed around the original stage set.


‘Pippin,’ and it’s cast members were welcomed with open arms. We loved you, Pippin-people. Come back again.

The Unsinkable Molly Brown
Sep 12 – Oct 26, 2014   The Stage Theatre

With new songs, this exhilarating adaptation of Meredith Willson’s 1960 musical tells the rags-to-riches romance of Colorado’s own heroine, Molly Brown, and her tempestuous love story that survived the Silver Boom, Gold Rush and sinking of the Titanic.

You Say Tomato, I Say Shut Up!

You Say Tomato, I Say Shut Up!
Sep 19 – Oct 19, 2014   The Garner Galleria Theatre

This hilarious rollercoaster of a romantic comedy proves there is hope and happiness for even the most incompatible of lovers, husbands and wives.

Lord of the Flies

Lord of the Flies
Sep 26 – Nov 2, 2014   The Space Theatre

In this riveting dystopian drama, a group of English boys become stranded on a deserted island. Intoxicated by sudden freedom, their innocent games quickly descend into a savage struggle for power.

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Oct 10 – Nov 16, 2014   The Ricketson Theatre

In this black comedy and winner of the 2013 Tony Award for Best Play, Vanya and Sonia’s quiet household is thrown into upheaval when they receive a visit from Vanya’s Hollywood star sister, Masha, and her boy-toy Spike.

Cult Following

Cult Following
Oct 10 – May 8, 2015   The Jones

Off-Center’s signature night of unrehearsed, unscripted theatre featuring the fast-talking and quick-thinking talents of some of Denver’s best improv performers.

Blue Man Group

Blue Man Group
Oct 10 – Oct 12, 2014   The Buell Theatre

Escape the ordinary and surround yourself in an explosion of comedy, music and technology in this high-octane theatrical experience.

Lord of the Butterflies

Lord of the Butterflies
Oct 24 – Nov 7, 2014   The Jones

Drag star Shirley Delta Blow’s retelling of Lord of the Flies complete with delightful dancing! Magnificent musical performances! Irreverent improvisation! And lots and lots of glitter.

Kinky Boots

Kinky Boots
Oct 29 – Nov 9, 2014   The Buell Theatre

An exhilarating and inspirational Broadway musical that follows a struggling shoe factory owner who works to turn his business around with help from Lola, a fabulous entertainer in need of some sturdy stilettos.

Forbidden Broadway: Alive & Kicking!

Forbidden Broadway: Alive & Kicking!
Nov 15 – Mar 1, 2015   Garner Galleria Theatre

This fall-down funny roast of Broadway returns with an all-new, fresh view of the highs and lows of recent Broadway shows, featuring outrageous costumes, hilarious rewrites of the songs you know and dead-on impressions by a stellar cast!

A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol
Nov 28 – Dec 28, 2014   The Stage Theatre

Essential to the holiday season in Denver, A Christmas Carol is a joyous and opulent musical adaptation that traces money-hoarding skinflint Ebenezer Scrooge’s triumphant overnight journey to redemption.

The SantaLand Diaries

The SantaLand Diaries
Nov 28 – Dec 24, 2014   The Jones

David Sedaris’ off-beat tales from his stint as a Macy’s elf in New York City is the sure cure for the common Christmas show.

Jersey Boys

Jersey Boys
Dec 10 – Dec 14, 2014   The Buell Theatre

The 2006 Tony Award-winning Best Musical about how four blue-collar kids became one of the greatest successes in pop music history as Rock and Roll Hall of Famers The Four Seasons.

How The Grinch Stole Christmas!

How The Grinch Stole Christmas!
Dec 17 – Dec 28, 2014   The Buell Theatre

Featuring songs from the original animated special, Max the Dog narrates as the mean and scheming Grinch, whose heart is “two sizes too small,” decides to steal Christmas away from the holiday loving Whos.


Jan 16 – Feb 22, 2015   The Ricketson Theatre

In a time-bending magical drama, three closely related Americans, each nursing a hunger and a hard-to-heal wound, travel to the romantic city of Venice seeking solace.

Dancing Pros: Live

Dancing Pros: Live
Jan 23 – Jan 24, 2015   The Buell Theatre

In this unforgettable live competition show, for the first time, pros from “Dancing with the Stars,” “So You Think You Can Dance,” and dance champions from around the globe dance off against each other – and each audience member will have the chance to vote.


Jan 30 – Mar 1, 2015   The Space Theatre

This adaptation of Kent Haruf’s novel is a powerful drama about three souls searching for meaningful connections despite separation, loneliness and the race against time on the high plains of Colorado.


Feb 3 – Feb 15, 2015   The Buell Theatre

A contemporary and lush production features an incredible orchestra, jaw-dropping transformations and all the moments you love — the pumpkin, the glass slipper, the masked ball and more — plus some surprising new twists!

The Gayest Oscar Party Ever

The Gayest Oscar Party Ever
Feb 22, 2015   Hamburger Mary’s
700 E 17th Ave, Denver, CO 80203

A benefit to benefit Off-Center. Ring in the most important day of the year with a grand entrance down the rainbow carpet, divine drinks, runway-worthy gowns and some of Denver’s favorite Queens.


Mar 10 – Mar 15, 2015   The Buell Theatre

Using anything but traditional percussion instruments, the Stomp crew creates pulse-pounding, electrifying rhythms for an unforgettably unique performance, every time.

Kick-Off Cabaret

Kick-Off Cabaret
Mar 13, 2015   The Jones

Discover the next wave of Colorado’s newest OFF ideas in this one-night-only event, where eight completely different local Kickstarter project creators will strut their stuff to enlist your support.

One Night in Miami...

One Night in Miami…
Mar 20 – Apr 19, 2015   The Space Theatre

Slice-of-life dramedy that imagines what occurred the night Cassius Clay spent with activist Malcolm X, singer Sam Cooke and football player Jim Brown after Clay’s historic win over heavyweight champ Sonny Liston in 1964.

Mark Twain Tonight!

Mark Twain Tonight!
Mar 21, 2015   The Buell Theatre

For more than 50 years, acclaimed actor Hal Holbrook has embodied Mark Twain live on stage in one of the most enduring performances in theatre history, bringing richness to the character far beyond the quoting of Twain’s most memorable lines.

The 12

The 12
Mar 27 – Apr 26, 2015   The Stage Theatre

This brand new rock musical follows the twelve apostles as they wrestle with fear, uncertainty, anger and love in the days following their Teacher’s death.

Motown the Musical

Motown the Musical
Mar 31 – Apr 19, 2015   The Buell Theatre

The smash musical tells the true story of Motown founder Berry Gordy’s journey from featherweight boxer to heavyweight music mogul. His American dream launched the careers of Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Smokey Robinson, shattered barriers, shaped our lives and made us move to the same beat.


Apr 10 – Apr 25, 2015   The Jones

Professor Phelyx and his powers of illusion manipulate reality and your mind in an astonishing night of impossible predictions, metal bending and seemingly inexplicable revelations.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
Apr 22 – Apr 26, 2015   The Buell Theatre

Tim Rice & Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is the irresistible family musical about the trials and triumphs of Joseph, Israel’s favorite son.

Defending the Caveman

Defending the Caveman
Apr 22 – Jun 28, 2015   Garner Galleria Theatre

Defending the Caveman is a hilarious play about the ways men and women relate to each other. Without taking sides, this insightful comedy discusses the ongoing battle for understanding between the sexes.


Apr 29 – May 10, 2015   The Buell Theatre

The world’s best-loved musical returns as a brand new incarnation of the original, directed by original lyricist and director Martin Charnin, complete with “It’s the Hard Knock Life,” “Easy Street,” “I Don’t Need Anything But You,” plus the eternal anthem of optimism, “Tomorr…


Jun 3 – Jul 5, 2015   The Buell Theatre

In one of the most successful and award-winning musicals of all time, Wicked is the story of how two girls — one born with emerald green skin — become friends in the land of Oz (long before that girl from Kansas arrives).

The Book of Mormon

The Book of Mormon
Aug 11 – Sep 13, 2015   The Ellie

The Book of Mormon, which played record-breaking engagements in 2012 and 2013, will be back by popular demand for a limited engagement in 2015.

DCPA is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to creating unforgettable shared experiences through beloved Broadway musicals, world-class plays, educational programs and inspired events. We think of theatre as a spark of life – a special occasion that’s exciting, powerful and fun. Join us today and we promise an experience you won’t soon forget.

Denver Theatre – Shows & Tickets | DCPA

‘Finding Vivian Maier’


Can’t get enough of Vivian?

I’ve been obsessed with the mystery of photographer Vivian Maier since I first read about her, probably a year ago. The documentary is now showing in Denver at the Esquire Theater.


Thank God, John Maloof bid on a box of negatives at a Chicago storage unit. He casually sifted through them but was hoping to find historical references for the book he was writing. Once he determined there was nothing of significant historical value he put the box back in the closet. Curiosity forced him to open the box a second time and scan some images. What he found were hundreds, thousands of photos that suddenly seemed to be not only great photography but a treasure trove of art snapped by an absolutely unknown person, Vivian Maier.

The mystery expanded as her art unfolded, her photos and life story loosely pieced together. The woman behind the camera was a secretive person who took care of other people’s children and entertained herself and her charges by trekking through the worst parts of Chicago, her camera around her neck.

The results are astonishing, fascinating and beautiful. Vivian Maier, (b. 1926-2009) was an artist. Unraveling her story is part of the art and mystery of this strange and lonely woman. The documentary sheds light on a small piece of the puzzle. The questions asked like who was she, why did she take so many photos and never develop them, who was this woman who gave her name as V. Smith, among other aliases, inferring at times that she was ‘sort of a spy;’ she was born in NYC but had a noticeable French accent, who was she?

Finding Vivian Maier‘ is captivating. I still can’t get enough of Vivan. Fortunate for people like me who love stories like this, and thanks to John Maloof the world is still developing hundreds of thousands of her photographs. She was a curious soul who found art in the down and out back streets of Chicago. Her camera focused on people living through a bad day or a woman out on the town. Through her camera she was passionate, stylish, compassionate, friendly, social, happy.  Vivian more than any one, was aware her subjects had a story that was far more interesting than the one she could tell. She didn’t need words.

Now, we get to piece together her photos and the woman who lived through her Rolleiflex lens. Vivian Maier, a 20th century artist with the eye of an Otto Dix, Diane Arbus, Rembrandt, Nan Goldin. Her photos tell us what she knew. We’ll never know all we want to know about Vivian Maier.


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Legends made in Denver: Drag Queens, too

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It’s common knowledge, Denver is a first class theatre city. I heard a friend brag we are second to New York City. While I can’t give you the bonafide stats on my friend’s statement, it’s not far from the truth.

Join me while I raise a glass of bubbly to the Denver Center Theatre Company’s new play program, because, due to their professional and ceaseless drive for quality literary plays, Denver has officially been named one of the top five theater companies in the country. The success comes via the annual development of new plays and musicals. The innovative program named the New Play Development Fund enables Denver to commission the most talented playwrights and host the Colorado New Play Summit every year. It is through this landmark program that playwrights have a chance to read and perform their work to an audience of professionals from New York to Los Angeles.


A few plays (born in Denver) you may have seen since 2008, are Plainsong, Eventide, Grace, or the Art of Climbing, The Whale, Two Things You Don’t Talk About at Dinner, Black Odyssey and the latest The Legend of Georgia McBride – the 2013 New Play Summit runaway hit.

Georgia McBride premiered last week to a devoted audience. The stage setting was decidedly apropos. Produced on a smaller stage the performers appeared about ten feet tall. Elvis swallowed up the stage as he opened the show in his white sequined jumpsuit. The story unfolds to an Elvis impersonator who is bumped to accommodate the bar’s new theme – drag night.

The audience quickly becomes enchanted with kitschy karaoke and drag queen antics. Hilariously enhanced by talented actors with the unimaginable storyline of a straight, married drag queen.  What follows is uproarious theatre by four (4), only four (the audience is completely blindsided by this) highly professional actors. It is enchanting and clever theater brought to life by the young and distinctly talented New York playwright Matthew Lopez. Kudos to Denver for choosing this spectacular mix of inventive dialogue peppered with high camp in glitzy costumes. DON’T Miss The Legend of Georgia McBride.

FYI: Denver has remarkable Drag Queens, i.e.,  Daniella DeCoteau (the audience was thrilled with her performance at the cast party / opening night celebration), Nuclia Waste, Shirley Delta Blow, Izzedead MotherEffer and Minor Misdemeanor to name a few. You can see one of the best drag shows monthly at Hamburger Mary’s on 17th Avenue. Trust me, it is as good as any show I’ve seen. Yep, better than the infamous Lady Chablis from Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil, by John Berendt. On a recent trip to Savannah we caught a once a month performance of her popular show. Regrets to Miss Champagne. Hamburger Mary’s drag queens (and show) are hands down superior to the most famous Drag Queen of the 20th Century.

FYI (2) : February 7-9, is the 2014 Colorado New Play Summit featuring five readings by playwrights such as Eric Schmiedle, reading his Benediction by Kent Haruf. Other readings include Appoggiatura by James Still, The Comparables, by Laura Schellhardt,

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“Just Like Us” – Compelling Story on Stage


Helen Thorpe and DCPA John Moore at the Tattered Cover Bookstore, Lodo, September 2013.

 I had the good fortune of being at the Tattered Cover bookstore in September for The John Moore Theater Talk. He had invited Helen Thorpe, author of the book,  Just Like Us, and Karen Zacarias who turned the book into the play, Just Like Us, that is playing at the Stage Theatre at the DCPA as I write.

Thorpe is an accomplished writer (and still the wife of Governor John Hickenlooper). Her endearing journalistic journey took her down a long and interesting road. She spent years documenting the lives of four Denver Latina women who were best friends. She befriended them while they were in high school and continued knowing and observing them through the college years. That in itself was an amazing journalistic feat.

What grips the audience and gringos in the audience is the fact that there is a social status among people of Mexican heritage who live in America. The dividing line is who is legal and who is not. I may have known that, but in this context, no.

Of the four women chronicled, two had papers, two did not. Just Like Us is the story of how that particular status impacts a life, a future, education, career and ultimately the well-being of the off-spring.

Regardless of one’s stand on immigration, this is a story that should be told and heard.  It is real. It is beyond many American’s radar or understanding. And while it publicizes the dire state of living as an illegal in the United States, it is also heartbreaking to know that children are the true victims of the immigration system. The story is an eye-opener about the perils of life without papers.

Just Like Us is potent entertainment. The four women are excellent actors who portray the Denver characters with youthful enthusiasm and skill.  Karen Zacarias did a marvelous job of bringing the book to the stage. Mary Bacon, was Helen Thorpe. She portrayed her with the class and kindness that is emblematic of the First Lady of Colorado.

Helen Thorpe has brought to life a remarkable story that is both  powerful and important. It is this season’s must see.

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Space Theatre: Grace, or The Art of Climbing

Plays through February 17, 2013.



Denver was the proud host for the premiere of Lauren Feldman‘s “Grace, or The Art of Climbing.” 

It’s the story of a young twenty-five old woman who finds herself back home in South Florida living with her father. She is depressed, tired, frustrated and irritated with herself and her life thus far. As a child, Emm and her Dad practiced rock climbing in the garage as an indoor athletic endeavor – no natural rock climbing in Miami. Dad thought wisely that learning to grip, hold and breathe onto the side of a rock would teach life lessons in tenacity, courage and strength. Well, as Emm mopes and whines and sleeps at home, Dad gets her butt out of bed and into the garage for old times sake.

The play is about creating a life and picking yourself up by your belay and getting to the next ledge. Never let go and always know where you are going are two rules of climbing. Emm struggles with ambition to do anything and to find will power along her path. She wants to become a person who knows where she is going and can work to eventually reach that goal. Even if whining and discouragement are a part of the growth.

A play of metaphors for life. The flashbacks take the audience into Emm’s former life, her lovers, loses and friendships. Feldman’s dialogue  creatively combines Dane Laffrey‘s incredible metaphorical rock climbing sets with one person’s self-doubt. This person discovers the stepping stones to self-confidence. There is no intermission. It couldn’t happen. The flow and emotion of the show must continually advance from start to finish uninterrupted. Otherwise, the grace of climbing would be lost.

I thought Climbing had the most beautiful ending. When Emm finds her graceful rhythm for rock climbing and the realization of where she is going. John Hutton plays her dad. He is always superb. Alejandro Rodriquez debuts as Sims, her climbing coach and Emm, played by Julie Jesneck, form a harmonic ensemble. Their acting mastery strengthens a well constructed storyline. The set was simple and perfect.


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Sean Penn loses drag queen contest

“This Must Be the Place”

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If you’re reading Denver Art Matters you’re probably a fan of Sean Penn. I just wonder if you think, like I do, that he is the most amazing actor of our time?  From the first time I laid eyes on him in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” (1982), his goofy, intelligent intensity and superb talent, placed him at the top of my favorite actor list. His career has proven that he has an unsettling instinct for choosing roles that suit his talents perfectly.

That’s why I decided on, “This Must Be the Place,” over the-getting-rave-reviews Spielberg’s “Lincoln,” movie last week.

O.K. TMBTP is a weird film. But Penn’s portrayal of an aging rockstar living in Dublin, a la Ozzy Osborne in Goth, emitting mumbled Truman Capote-esque lines, brilliantly showcases the talents of one of today’s most talented actors. I trust Penn’s acting choices.

The story line takes Cheyenne, the retired rock star, back to New York for his father’s final breath. After the funeral, even though he and his father hadn’t spoken in twenty years, Cheyenne necessitates revenge for his Auschwitz survivor father. Deciding to confront the depraved Auschwitz guard who tormented his father’s every waking hour after WWII. He discovers he is now living gratis in the U.S.  Thus, his cross country search begins.

The cast is impressive, Judd Hirsch, Frances McDormand (his wife), David Byrne. It’s doubtful Penn or any of the cast will be nominated for an award, but stranger things have happened. TMBTP debuted at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival produced by the Weinstein Company. Written and directed by Italian filmmaker Paolo Sorrentino, Penn gives an atypical, compelling performance, but quite honestly, he is a terrible looking drag queen.


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